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Get to know the Irish Whiskey Market – From Cask Ownership to Whiskey Subscriptions, Growth is on the Horizon

April 10, 2023

The Irish whiskey market is one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet. Connoisseurs rave about it. Investors swear by it. Whisky sales and the whiskey trade are booming. And it’s a spirit that has not only a perfectly smooth taste, but a fascinating and vibrant history, spanning back to the 12th Century, as well.

There are many ways to get involved in the industry, from cask whiskey ownership as clients seek to beat returns from the traditional markets, or through entities such as whiskey clubs where customers pay a monthly fee and subscribe to taste and trial new and wondrous bottles they may have never heard of before. What follows below therefore is a breakdown of the opinions available to you within this thriving industry, as well as an explanation as to why the future of this industry looks so bright for everyone involved.

Whiskey Clubs

If you want to dip your toe in the world of Irish whiskey before perhaps diving in with an opportunity such as cask whiskey ownership, your first step might be to join a whiskey club. Such clubs can be found across the planet, in many different countries, and they offer myriad opportunities for curious minds to explore. By choosing and joining a whiskey club, you’re suddenly presented with the opportunity to meet like-minded new friends and acquaintances who, much like yourself, may wish to discuss your growing interest in whiskey. And then, of course, there’s the fantastic opportunity to taste a variety of different whiskies, and trial bottles composed from a variety of different flavours, complexities and aromas.

To become a member of a whiskey club, you’ll often have to pay a subscription, be it monthly, quarterly or yearly, but in return the club will curate the most appropriate whiskeys for you to try. As an experimental whiskey enthusiast, this is a perfect opportunity to test the limits of your own palette, to establish your preferences, and fine-tune your monthly selection of whiskies provided each month. 

Those who run the club will also be able to offer you invaluable insights and guidance about the best follow-up whiskey for you to try based on your past tastes. This is also a cost-effective way of experimentation, because the club will send you smaller samples, rather than you having to buy the whiskey bottle of your choice outright. As part of a whiskey club, you may also wish to attend masterclasses, as well as join the club on tastings and tours.

Cask Whiskey Ownership

Many people have chosen the option of buying a cask of whiskey as an avenue to pursue when thinking about maximising their returns, especially during turbulent times in the economy. Worldwide cask ownership is flourishing, especially right now, as it’s a way of owning a tangible asset that’s seen as safe, and reliable when compared to other traditional and secondary asset classes. To many, in fact, it’s considered a lucrative alternative to investing in shares, property, art, cars and coloured jewelry – which have all been shown over recent years to be susceptible to market fluctuations, or to simply depreciate outright.

Equally, when you invest in whiskey, you get the opportunity to watch its value mature over time. Cask ownership also allows you to diversify your portfolio, hedging against inflation. And then when the time is right, you may wish to continue purchasing casks, or you can sell them, or bottle it and enjoy the whiskey yourself, create your own whiskey brand, or pass the casks down to your loved ones from generation to generation. There may be lower capital gains tax rates to pay on any profit you make. 

And you have the comfort of knowing that your casks can be liquidated easily on the global market. Whiskey is a limited resource. And as bottles are consumed supply decreases, which tends to lead to an increase in the value, as well as the demand, especially on matured limited edition casks from premium distillery brands. 

Finally, not only do cask whiskey purchasers get to own an asset that carries a significant potential for high rates of return over time – they get to own a piece of Irish culture, tradition, heritage and history. A cask of whiskey is a symbol of extraordinary Irish craftsmanship that, unlike other tangible assets, remains low maintenance over time and is easy to store. 

Whiskey Subscriptions

This is another thrilling way to immerse yourself in the world of whiskey, providing a lot of excitement and new opportunities to a vast number of people. The idea is simple but brilliant: not only do you receive samples of extraordinary whiskeys in the post, arriving like clockwork through your front door; often subscribers are given access to bottles that are very hard to come by elsewhere, such as in mainstream stores or bars.

These samples being sent to you are curated by whiskey experts who want to share their passion with you. They want you to experience the very best, and the whiskeys arriving for you at home will often be accompanied with tasting notes and detailed information about the taste, flavours, aromas and complexities of the whiskeys being recommended for you. Often you’ll also be given access to exclusive offers on whiskies, that are only available to subscribers. 

The Whiskey Industry

This is a thriving sector, with suppliers struggling to meet demand. The Scotch whisky market is today worth more than £6 billion to the UK economy. And all this just from a spirit comprising three ingredients: malted barley, yeast and water. And yet, such is the palate for Scotch that there are now more than 100 whiskey distilleries in Scotland alone, all offering different flavour profiles based on the regions they hail from, with the oldest bottle of Scotch whiskey ever having first been distilled in 1757. 

According to the IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, between 2013 and 2017, the Irish whiskey market grew by 39% per year. US sales increased, in spite of the pandemic, by 16.3% in 2021, with overall exports increasing by 370% since 2010

Undeniably, the latest statistics surrounding the Irish whiskey business and expensive Irish whiskeys are remarkable, with Irish whiskey having its greatest renaissance ever. A decade ago, merely four distilleries in Ireland produced Irish whiskey. Currently, there are more than 40 distilleries either operative or in the growth phase. This explains why The Irish Times has described Irish whiskey as “the world’s fastest-growing spirits category in over a decade.”

Whiskey Suppliers and Wholesalers

Whiskey suppliers and wholesalers are vital to the Irish whiskey industry, as they race to ensure that whiskey is ready to distribute to a demanding international market. Whiskey suppliers work with distilleries to source the best whiskeys, while whiskey wholesalers distribute whiskey to retailers and bars. It’s thanks to these Irish whiskey suppliers and wholesalers that the Irish whiskey market moves at such a rapid and evolving pace. 

Equally, to cater for the worldwide fascination in Irish whiskey, many Irish distilleries offer distillery tours, allowing visitors to see production processes and taste the finished whiskey created by family-owned and operated distilleries that have passed their techniques down from generation to generation. 

Today, many suppliers and wholesalers are also deeply committed to sustainability and making sure they limit their impact on the environment, pursuing initiatives that include recycling water, and renewable energy. 

The Best Irish Whiskey to Invest in

As the Irish Whiskey Association could tell you, there are countless popular brands to choose from. However, of all the whiskey companies out there, when it comes to whiskey investment, there is one in particular that produces a rare and luxurious whiskey of an extraordinarily high quality to invest in. The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. is famous for such world-beating offerings as the award-winning Irish whiskey, The Devil’s Keep, and The Emerald Isle. 

The former is an ultra-rare, triple distilled, 29.9-year-old single malt whiskey, recently judged the world’s Best Irish Single Malt, and achieving the world record for the most expensive inaugural whiskey release ever at auction, selling for almost £46,000. The Emerald Isle, meanwhile, is triple-distilled ultra-rare single malt whiskey encased in an intricately-crafted bottle, housed in a box  and accompanied by a Fabergé Celtic Egg Objet and a bespoke Altruist timepiece. The first luxury whiskey set of The Emerald Isle Collection sold at auction for a record-breaking $2 million.

The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. has won multiple awards from industry experts and therefore these bottles are an indication of extreme quality, providing peace of mind to whiskey enthusiasts who want to invest in extraordinary and rare bottles.

In conclusion, the Irish whiskey market is booming and there are multiple entry points for you to immerse yourself in this remarkable world, from whiskey subscriptions to whiskey investing. Nine hundred years on from when 12th century Irish monks brought Irish whiskey’s classic distillation methods with them from Continental Europe, whiskey continues on its unstoppable upward trajectory. 

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